Julian Siggers Appointed Williams Director of Penn Museum

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Media Contact:Pam Kosty | pkosty@upenn.edu | 215-898-4045April 26, 2012

PHILADELPHIA — Julian Siggers has been appointed the Williams Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, effective July 1.

The announcement was made today by Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price

Siggers is currently vice president for programs, education and content communication at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada’s largest research museum.  He has also served as director of the Institute for Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum and as head of narrative and broadcast development at the United Kingdom’s National Museum of Science and Industry in London.  Siggers taught prehistoric archaeology for eight years at the University of Toronto, where he earned his Ph.D., with a specialization in Near Eastern prehistoric archaeology. 

“As we celebrate the Penn Museum’s 125th anniversary, Julian Siggers is the perfect director to lead the nation’s finest university archeological museum,” Gutmann said.  “Julian is deeply committed to the Museum’s essential missions of research, teaching and public outreach and engagement.  In addition, he has extensive experience with museum stewardship and growth.

“Julian is taking the helm at a time when the sterling reputation of the Penn Museum continues to grow with last year’s ‘Secrets of the Silk Road’ exhibit and the spectacular 30th anniversary Maya Weekend just around the corner. ”

Throughout his career, Siggers has been a pioneer in advancing public engagement with museums and archaeology. 

At the Royal Ontario Museum, he developed innovative initiatives designed to make it a vital part of contemporary life and an inviting means of public education and discovery.  He pursued new forms of exhibition, publication, programming, broadcasting and digital media, including partnerships with government agencies and a weekly show on the Discovery Channel, and he directed a Dead Sea Scrolls project that drew the museum’s highest attendance in two decades.  He was also an integral part of the team responsible for fundraising initiatives, especially during a highly successful $300 million capital campaign.

“Julian Siggers is one of the world’s leading figures in enhancing the vitality of museums and charting the future of museum practice,” Price said.  “A committed scholar of prehistoric archaeology, he understands the importance of working collaboratively with faculty and scholars while expanding the reach of their work to new and non-traditional audiences.  I am confident that he will be a galvanizing force for advancing the Penn Museum across our campus, our city and state and beyond.” 

In addition to his 1997 doctorate from the University of Toronto, Siggers earned an M.A. in prehistoric archaeology in 1988 and B.A. with honors in archaeology in 1986 from the Institute of Archaeology at University College London. 

“As we welcome Julian,” Price said, “we also express our gratitude to Richard Hodges for his dynamic leadership of the Museum over the past five years, and we wish him well in his new position as president of the American University of Rome.”